By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team OAM NOW Tri-athlete
Expectations for the weather were low leading up to Peak 2 Peak, with temps averaging in the low 40s and rain predicted for most of the weekend. While the rain held off, racers still had to contend with the mercury below 40 and a chilly breeze. Alex Vanias and I lined up for the Pro/Elite women’s and men’s race which started together. Both races had strong fields including defending champions MacKenzie Woodring and Cole House, winners of their respective events for 3 years running. I lined up next to Selene Yeager who writes Fit Chick for Bicycling magazine; she came in from Pennsylvania to race.
The course was wet from a week of rain, but it was hard-packed and fast, except for a muddy portion featuring a deceptively deep mud pit that ate wheels, shoes, and toe covers alive. The singletrack was fast and flowy with little elevation change, until the climb up the back side of the mountain. The chairlift took spectators up to the top of the mountain and made for an exciting atmosphere on the climb. The Elite and Expert racers did three laps each.
Woodring was off the front from the first lap while I rode within sight of Yeager for the first lap. Yeager went off course and didn’t hear our shouts which left me solo, in second. About three miles from the finish, Yeager reappeared and caught me; I couldn’t respond. Still, I was quite happy with my 3rd place finish considering this was the strongest field I’ve raced yet.
The lead pack of the men’s field was reduced to three after a lap and a half. Jorden Wakeley and Alex repeatedly countered Cole’s attacks until he broke away the final lap. Wakeley established a gap on the mud pit and held it for second while Alex took third.
In the women’s expert race, Charlotte Long had a strong race to finish second. Roxane Kippen stepped up to the expert race after racing sport earlier this year and finished a tough race in the middle of the field.
The race was deceptively tough, but overall it was a fun and well run event. It was my first Peak2Peak, but it’s, and the podium, are definitely on my list of places to return.